A phone recommendation for the old man

Here in Californy, we have a fine law coming into effect on July 1st that folks can't be jabbering away on cell phones while driving, unless they're using a handsfree jobbie. My dad's phone is one of those blessed antiques from the pre-color days that runs fine for days on one charge; the only problem is it predates Bluetooth and he's never going to take the time to plug in a little wireless dongle every time he gets into the car.

So, it's new phone time, and the array of choices is far too dizzying. I would like to tap the infinite wisdom of the goodjerati for recommendations. Some key, key points here:

  • Feature-wise, only two things matter. Bluetooth support and extra-long battery life. My father will never send a text message, never take a picture with his phone, never synchronize contact information with his PC, and certainly never go online.
  • Style-wise, a clamshell design is greatly preferred.
  • He's currently carried by AT&T/Cingular, but his contract is long since done. Signing another 2 year contract to get a substantial phone discount is not a problem.

    Help me help Dad!

  • Your needs are so limited, well... just choose a provider and let them give you a cheap phone with Bluetooth. Bam, done. You want phone, bluetooth, and nothing else, which matches the low-end stuff quite well, generally.

    If he likes AT&T and can wait an extra week or so, the new iPhones look pretty freaking awesome. $200 (with a 2-year AT&T contract), and a GPS, with awesome map software. Google Maps really, really runs well on the iPhone. And everything's so easy to figure that he might just end up utilizing those extra features.

    Note that the iPhone plans are generally around $70/mo, which might be too much. That includes $20/mo for data. I think you can opt out of the data, in which case the GPS part wouldn't be very useful (if it worked at all)... but TomTom already has their GPS software ported to the iPhone. That would let you run the GPS entirely self-contained, and would give you an excellent form factor, a really nice phone, and a GPS all in one. For the extra $20, there's a ton of other features he could turn on. And many of those features would work anywhere he could get a WiFi, if he kinda-sorta wanted them sometimes, but didn't want to pay.

    They're apparently coming out June 7.

    Yeah, I was mainly hoping that I'd get lucky and someone would chime in with "as a matter of a fact, I just got this phone with my plan and I only have to charge the thing once a week." I've owned something like 10 cell phones over my life, and I've never found anything remotely resembling the truth on their published battery specs. Guess I'll just throw darts at a board.

    Well the new iPhone sounds like it has some amazing battery life if you turn off the 3g. I agree too that the iPhone is also easy and fun enough to use that someone who never used "those features" on other phones might do so on the iPhone. It is pricier though than just a phone.

    My 2G iPhone has great battery life. No complaints at all. It'll comfortably go a week between charges if you don't use it much, and it'll last a full day of very heavy use, early in the charge cycle... if you have it on standby for five days and then want to talk for four hours, well, that's iffy.

    I think of the battery life as being '8 hours, 8 days, or some combination of the two.'

    btw, the new iPhone data plan is $30 a month.

    Plus five bucks for 200 SMS messages. It's gone into stupid territory now.

    Yeah the price drop wasn't really a price drop.

    But those rates are the same rates AT&T charges for their other smartphones afaik.